Expectations were high for Kyle Pitts the moment he heard his name called at the 2021 NFL Draft. He became the highest tight end to be selected after being picked No. 4 by the Atlanta Falcons.
And his first-year numbers were indeed historical. He became only the second rookie tight end in history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards and broke the Falcons’ record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season with 1,026. To top it, Pitts was named to the 2022 Pro Bowl, the first rookie tight end to make it in 20 years.
With all those accomplishments, is it worth investing a high pick in Pitts for the upcoming Fantasy Football year?
With that being said, here is the fantasy outlook for Kyle Pitts in the 2022 NFL season.
Kyle Pitts 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook
Despite all the record-breaking numbers as a rookie and being on the field for 72.8% of Atlanta’s plays, Pitts only had one touchdown in the entire year. To be fair, the Falcons as a team only had 20 passing touchdowns in 17 regular season games. He also had an average catch rate of 61.8%, the same as the league.
Yet, when he caught the pass, Pitts was very efficient, gaining 15.1 yards per catch. He also had three games with at least 100 yards, including 163 in a victory against the Miami Dolphins, a single-game record for a tight end in franchise’s history.
However, some team moves for 2022 could hurt Pitts’ performance in this upcoming season. The Falcons traded away Matt Ryan and brought Marcus Mariota to be the starting quarterback. Mariota is known for his mobility, making him a threat in the running game, so it is likely that Atlanta will have more plays on the ground, which would limit Pitts’ role in the offense.
Additionally, the Falcons used their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on a wide receiver, selecting Drake London from USC. By using such a high pick on a receiver, it would not be a surprise if London get a ton of targets right away. Kyle Pitts should have some tough competition to be the first option in the team’s passing game, but if his 2021 numbers mean something, he has shown he is capable of being No. 1.
At the end of the day, Pitts has already shown he is a Pro Bowl-level player and has proven he can be a primary target in the offense, so even with rookie London coming in, Pitts can expect a good amount of targets, and fantasy football fans should expect many points from him.
In terms of fantasy football, the former Florida Gator finished the year with the sixth highest points-per-reception (10.4) for his position, fourth most in targets per contest (6.5) and was even TE1 for seven weeks. All of those numbers came just in his first year as a professional player, so it is a good indication of his future in the league.
Pitts is likely to be picked behind Baltimore Ravens’ Mark Andrews and Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, TE1, and TE2 last year, respectively. Still, fantasy players should expect the second-year Falcon to be one of the first tight ends off the board, so they should keep an eye on how things are going around their leagues.
Even with a dual-threat Mariota under center and a rookie wide receiver to compete with him, Kyle Pitts should still be a very solid and safe draft pick. Expect him to be selected around the fourth round, or even as a mid-late third round as he has the potential to become TE1 for many years to come.